Breaking down districts' departmental silos key to long-term change
- Breaking down silos between departments in K-12 districts is critical to enacting long-term change in schools, Bill Latham, MeTEOR Education CEO and senior program designer writes for EdSurge.
- According to Latham, this approach can help districts confront three challenges that most districts are facing — helping public schools compete while addressing low student engagement, dealing with aging buildings, and using technology and choice to provide a more "humanized" educational experience.
- He notes that Florida’s Sarasota County Schools has taken that path with the help of a $100,000 STEM-Smart grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, zeroing in on what kind of educational experiences were needed for students and working with faculty, IT staff and vendors to design curriculum tailored to those requirements.
For several years, many have called for the breaking down of silos that exist in education, and for good reason. The influx of tech in schools, for example, necessitates that IT and curriculum staff be on the same page so technological resources garner the most benefits. Tech purchases are more efficient and have more return-on-investment if they're vetted by the people who will be using them, or who are planning the way they'll be used, and curriculum staff can help IT staff better understand what educators need most from certain products and platforms.
But there's more than just the silos between those two departments. All layers of a district's administration stand to benefit when there's a steady stream of communication and collaboration between people in various business areas, with more fully-informed decision making all around benefiting students most in the long run while also creating an environment conducive to retaining talent.
Breaking down silos can be beneficial at the classroom level, as well. For example, if teachers in different subject areas are encouraged to work together to identify cross-curricular similarities that provide deeper context for students, those who are excelling in one area may more quickly connect the dots and raise their understanding of the other.
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